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Louisiana industry works to lower emissions as Trump plans to scrap Obama-era rules


August 29, 2019
By Holly Duchmann
Originally Posted on Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

In an effort to boost oil and gas production, the Trump administration is proposing to scrap Obama-era regulations on methane emissions, saying the rules were an overstep in authority. But Louisiana industry representatives say they’re still committed to reducing emissions.

The proposal, according to the Wall Street Journal, gets rid of requirements for the industry to install technologies that monitor and limit leaks from new wells, tanks and pipeline networks and to more frequently inspect for leaks. It also forestalls legal requirements that would have forced the EPA to set rules on emissions from thousands of pre-existing wells and industry sites.

Exxon Mobil has previously pushed against rolling back such regulations, saying it supports having government-backed rules to curb methane emissions. A local spokeswoman for Exxon Mobil was unable to be reached for comment before this morning’s deadline.

Steve Waguespack, president and CEO of LABI, says the association will review the proposal later today once its been released and will solicit feedback from association members.

“American energy producers are making great investments in the market to reduce emissions across the board, including on methane,” Waguespack says. “The data shows their investments are working. Natural gas is not only a clean-burning fuel that helps drive a lot of these emission reductions, it is also a natural resource that helps create Louisiana jobs. Louisiana energy producers will proudly continue their commitment to creating good jobs in our state and investing in new technologies to reduce emissions.”

Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry is committed to reducing its environmental impact, says Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association President Tyler Gray, through smart regulations, infrastructure, technology and industry initiatives.

“LMOGA supports sound regulations that protect public health and the environment and allow the industry to safely deliver affordable and reliable energy for America,” Gray says. “Smart regulation of volatile organic compounds drives down methane emissions and allows for innovation and technological advancements that help environmental performance and strengthen industry’s actions to reduce emissions.”

Officials form BRAC declined comment for this story.